It was Luke’s turn to pick where we went on vacation, and he said he “wanted to see a volcano.” Ok then! After consulting with my favorite travel consultant, Gary – who happened to be visiting at the time, we narrowed down our choices. After talking everything through, we settled on Volcanoes National Park on Hawaii’s Big Island.
I’ll be honest, I was hoping to see the red lava glow.
It didn’t happen.
When we were there, the volcanic activity had slowed a bit and without renting a helicopter, it wasn’t going to happen. Helicopter rides don’t usually discount the pricing for kids, and I balked at the price of 4 adult helicopter tickets – which was equal to our rental house for the week. So… no lava glow this time.
What we did get to see was a lot of beautiful country! Volcanoes National Park has lush rainforests that neighbor stark black lava from flows years prior. It borders the ocean, and the Chain of Craters road meandered through the park, then followed the coastline for one of the prettiest views I’ve ever encountered.
There was a lot of hiking opportunities (our favorite hike was the Kilauea Iki Trail), and the kids loved exploring the lava tubes.
Volcanoes National Park was one of the most positive experiences we’ve had with the children in a US National Park. Despite their young ages, there was enough to see and do to keep them interested. It was their first tropical rainforest, first volcano, and one of their first experiences driving along the coast.